Advanced Materials research at the Faculty of Science unites the best of both worlds in physics and chemistry. It is a well-established research subtheme that encompasses a range of deep-rooted collaboration between researchers from different disciplines. The collaborative efforts resulted in the development of two new central labs tailored especially for this specific purpose. The faculty theme ‘Advanced Materials’ builds on this established cooperation and extends it into new directions. With currently more than 30 experimental and theoretical researchers including faculty, staff, and graduate students.
Advanced Materials research at the Department of Physics focuses on synthesizing and characterizing novel nano-materials and studying their influence on the properties of high-temperature superconductors (HTSCs). Improving the performance of bulk HTSCs and therefore enhancing their use in practical applications has been of great interest worldwide and this has been achieved by several methods. Interestingly, the easiest and most efficient method is the doping of nano-structure elements and compounds with various concentrations and sizes in the superconducting matrix which lies in the core of our research.
In this sense, nano-ferrites and nano-oxides are synthesized using the solid-state reaction technique. The newly-synthesized nano-particles are added to several HTSCs aiming to improve the structural, mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of these compounds. To this end, several experimental techniques are used to characterize the prepared samples including Energy dispersive x-rays (EDX) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), scan electron microscopy (SEM), electrical resistivity, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) absorption spectroscopy, Ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy, Dielectric constant measurements, Electron spin resonance (ESR), Thermoelectric power, magnetic susceptibility, and others. So far, we have been successful in improving the superconducting properties of several HTSCs.
In addition, the material science group in the physics department at BAU has been studying a wide variety of the properties of a recently discovered HTSC known as iron-based superconductor, which is expected to have wide applications in industry in addition to its great scientific interest.
This work is carried out at BAU in addition to collaborations with several research institutes and universities locally and overseas including Alexandria University, The University of Tokyo, Keio University, The Lebanese University, The American University of Beirut in addition to The National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS).
Advanced Materials research at the Department of Chemistry is mainly focused on the synthesis and structural characterization of novel nano-materials and their use in water treatment, corrosion control, protein crystallization, biological and medicinal applications, as well as homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis.
One of the hot topics under research has to deal with corrosion. Corrosion is a serious industrial problem that has attracted many investigators in recent years because it contributes to the depletion of our natural reserves of materials and energy. Thus, it becomes vital to have efficient utilization of existing raw materials and optimum conservation of fabricated structural metals. An increased usage of metals especially steel and its alloys within all fields of technology made it necessary to devote more attention to their metallic corrosion and its prevention. Since it is difficult to control the demand for metals, corrosion at least must be minimized. Different methods commonly used to control corrosion such as materials selection, Protective coatings, cathodic protection and usage of inhibitors.
The aim of the researches that has been done are to evaluate the inhibitory effect of some organic compounds and plant extracts on the corrosion and scale formation in different media. Other studies were focused on the use of coatings to minimize corrosion. Also, Scientific project funded from National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) has been achieved under this subtheme.
The corrosion protection team at BAU plan to perform studies in the field of inhibitors for protection of metals and alloys, as well as investigation of the corrosion behavior of nanoparticles added to superconductor materials and using plant extracts as environmentally friendly corrosion inhibitors. In addition, the paint and coating lab is suggested to serve both research and community.